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Friday, July 27, 2007

Peace loving Palestinian neighbors? Not yet

According to a PEW Research Center Poll released Tuesday, July 24,  admiration for suicide bombings and terror has cooled in most of the Arab world. However in one or two places terror groups and suicide bombings remain popular.
Notably, in the Palestinian territories, it seems that 41% believe that suicide bombings against civilians are often justified in defense of Islam, and and an additional 29% believe they are sometimes justified. Only 6% replied that they are never justified. This finding is all the more noteworthy in that Palestinian territories stand out in their responses from every other Muslim country surveyed. The second highest rating for suicide bombings was given in Mali, where 21% said they are often justified, and 18% said they are sometimes justified. Even in Mali, fully 36% said that suicide bombings are never justified.
It is instructive to compare these responses with those of Jordanians. The majority of Jordanians are Palestinian Arabs, and a large number live in refugee camps which supposedly breed despair. Yet only 6% said suicide bombings are often justified, 17% said they are sometimes justified, and 42% said they  are never justified.
In Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, only 3% said that such bombings are often justified, 7% responded that they are sometimes justified, and 77% said they are never justified.  
The question asked was:
Question: Some people think that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies. Do you personally feel that this kind of violence is often justified, sometimes justified, rarely justified or never justified?

In the same poll, it was found that 76% of Palestinians have a very favorable (41%)  or somewhat favorable view (35%)  of Hezbollah - highest among the countries polled by far. Hamas got only 27% and 35% respectively, which was far below its rating in Bangladesh - 45% very favorable, 37% favorable.

Ami Isseroff


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